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A Day in the World of   SNOWBALL*

By Snowball

as told to her man (a.k.a Randy Vickers)

* An account translated from Feline, a cat-language which is partly vocal, but is stated mainly by postures and motions and by tail-waving. Its decoding requires practice.

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Meow! ("Greetings!") Let me introduce myself.

I am called Snowball because of my thick, glossy white fur coat. This coat and my large, green eyes proclaim me to be an Angora, an ancient and respected member of the Felidae family.

My full title is actually "Princess Snowball", but in these modern degenerate times when respect for royalty is lacking and little notice is taken of an illustrious ancestry, I have perforce become resigned to being called simply "Snowball".

The two humans with whom I share my home, and of whom I am quite fond, also use endearing terms such as "sweetheart" and "pussy-cat purr", and I don't object to this. Actually, the only name I really dislike is "the cat". This term sounds so utterly condescending and so belittling!

My humans have their own names for each other, but I know them as "my man" and "my lady". They are always kind to me, and they treat me in a way that shows they recognise my station. However, there are times when I wonder if they presume that they actually own me. This is ridiculous, of course. Nobody owns a cat, ever.

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My day starts at dawn or shortly thereafter. Then I walk to the gate at the entrance to the kitchen, where I have spent the night, and announce that I am awake by calling "mew" several times. If nobody hears me, I go back to my bed or to the mat by the kitchen sink for an extra cat-nap. When I wake up, I walk back to the gate and call "MEOW!" three or four times. Usually one of my humans will then come, remove the gate and open the Venetian blinds, get me my morning bowl of milk and put fresh food and water in my dish. If it is the man who comes, he always says "Good morning, Mrs. Meow!" If it is my lady who comes, she says, "Good morning, little Snowball. I hope you slept well." Very different.

But then, it is my man who brings me a new carton of Lactaid milk every ten days. I like to start my breakfast with a bowl of fresh, cold milk, but since I am lactose-intolerant, I must have lactose-free milk. If I lap up ordinary milk by mistake, there are prompt and messy results. My man also brings home my favourite brand of tinned food, choosing the few flavours I like most, and provides my own special "clumping" biffy litter. He gets them from a place he calls a "stupor-market". I have never gone there with him, so I don't know much about it. But I do appreciate his kindness.    
Fresh, Cold Milk
I do appreciate a fresh, cold bowl of milk to start my day!

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Morning sun-bath and other warmings

In a Sunbeam
You may call me a sun-worshipper and I won't deny it.
I just love to snooze in my own sunbeam!
    My home faces north, so it gets very little direct sunlight. But from mid-Spring to mid-Autumn the sun shines through the window beside the living-room fireplace, and makes a warm, bright patch on the carpet beside my lady's easy-chair. I love to lie in my sunbeam, especially during the first few weeks and the last few, when it is pleasantly warm without being too hot. After I have absorbed all the sun I want for one session, I go to my dish for a snack, or sometimes just crawl under my lady's chair to cool off slowly and deliciously. Then after awhile, I go back to my sunbeam for another warming.

When my sunbeam has moved up the wall and left for the day, I sometimes go to my day-bed in the kitchen for a nap. The bed is in a recess under the counter, next to the cupboard where my food and other tinned goods are kept. I can stay there all afternoon if I so desire, and nobody disturbs me.

When there is no sunbeam and the gas fireplace is turned on, which is most of the year except summer, I usually spend my mornings on the carpet in front of the fire. It is not as satisfactory as my sunbeam, as it goes on for a while and then off for a while, but it is enjoyable while the flame is there and there are fans which blow out warm air for several minutes after the flame goes out. I have often tried to tell the flame to come on again, but it doesn't seem to understand me.    
In my cozy bed
My sunbeam has left.
Think I'll spend some time in my day-bed.
Perhaps even all the afternoon.

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Ah, dinner
Ah, dinner! Chicken yesterday, fish today.
I can't decide which I really like better.
    Before my humans sit down to their own dinner, they make sure my dish has enough fresh food and water. Sometimes they have fish or chicken for their dinner, and share a bit with me, first cutting it into tiny bite-sized morsels. I appreciate this kindness, as I now find it difficult to chew up big pieces. After all, I have been with my lady for eighteen years, and I was well past kittenhood when I left my first home to live with her. So I can't expect to be as active as I once was, or to do all the things I used to do.

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After dinner I often watch T.V. with my man. If I walk into the T.V. room, he will hold out his big hands and say "Prrrm, Prrrm, Prrrm". He speaks the Feline language with an atrocious accent, but I soon realized he was trying to say, "come to me to sit on my lap and give me a pussy-cat cuddle." Then I go close enough for him to pick me up and we watch T.V. together. Sometimes my lady picks me up for a few minutes, but she says it soon makes her legs tired. Actually, I prefer my man's lap. It's bigger and I can sprawl out to my full length. Also, we usually have a petting-session first. I thrust my nose into one of his hands as a signal that I want my chin rubbed and my ears and jawline scratched. It took him a while to understand this, but now he always knows what I want, and after he has done that he follows through by combing his finger-nails down the length of my back to the tip of my tail several times. I purr. Then we both settle down to watch T.V. He often doesn't see the end of the show. My lady took a snapshot to illustrate this.     Watching TV
My man and I were watching TV, but the hour is late and we're both about ready for bed.
(Snapshot by my lady)

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Most nights I climb up on my chair in the north-west corner of the breakfast-nook. My humans call it "Judy's chair", because my lady's niece Judy used it one summer when she was visiting in my home. Why they still call it by that name is a mystery to me, because it has been mine since Judy left, and that was years ago. Humans are funny.

My cozy chair
I'm all curled up in my cozy chair. Soon my man will say "night, little ball of fur!
    Before I actually go to my chair, there is a routine I have to follow. When we have finished watching my lady's favourite T.V. show which ends at eight o'clock, she goes to her bedroom and changes into her old pink house-coat, then comes back to the T.V. room and says "Bedtime, Snowball!" She picks me up and takes me to the kitchen, leaning the gate across the entrance so I can't scamper back to the T.V. room. She fills my dish with fresh food and water and pours any left-over milk into the sink. After lying in the warmth of the kitchen all day, it doesn't taste good, anyway.

Before she leaves the kitchen, my lady gives me a kiss and rubs my head and ears, and says she hopes I have a good sleep. My man often comes in a few minutes later for a good-night nose-rub and tells me he hopes I have pleasant pussy-cat dreams. Or if I am already cuddled down for the night, he may just say "night, little ball of fur!"

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The odd thing is that I do have dreams sometimes, and every once in a while my dreams are about a T-shirt my man owns. It has a picture in front showing a cat dressed as a Spanish grandee. I think a cat looks odd in human clothing, but I must admit that I wonder sometimes how I should look if I were so dressed. In the costume of a princess, of course. But anyway, it's just a dream.

Purr-mew, purr, purr! ("good night to you too, and happy dreams")

Cat's Paw Signature

PS. my man typed this for me, as my claws get in the way, but I told him what to say.

    My dream
I know it's only a dream,
but I do wonder how I'd look in
this picture, dressed as a princess.

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New home
Why did they bring me to this place? I feel ill, and even the day-long sunbeam doesn't seem to help me feel better. I do so want to go home!
    A few months after I had confided my little story to my man, both my humans suddenly left my spacious, comfortable home and took me with them to a hot, stuffy two room apartment many miles away. I had not been feeling my best for several weeks before the move, and the stress of leaving the home in which I had spent so many happy years made me feel much, much worse. I could not even get the same pleasure from my sunbeam, though my lady tried to help by telling me that it would now be there both winter and summer. I still feel unhappy and unwell.

I want to go home.

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In Memoriam:

Sadly, Snowball's wish never came true. Her little world ended suddenly on September 13th, 2000, as a result of renal failure and associated health problems. Her exact age at that time is unknown, but was almost certainly over twenty years, which would equate with a human age of ninety to a hundred.

Snowball will live always in the hearts of her man and her lady, and her ashes, which now repose in a small urn, will in time accompany her lady to the grave.

Farewell, little sweetheart. We loved you.

Snowball's "man" died on November 6, 2008, two months before his 92 birthday. Her "lady" is hoping to join them soon.

New home
My beautiful home so far away, with its fireplace for winter warmth and its window for my summer sunbeam and its cool breeze off the ocean.

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